Tigers head to Arkansas for tough road game

By Staff
After five consecutive weeks of night games, the Auburn football team gets its first taste of early-morning football as it travels to Arkansas.
While the game might be earlier than the Tigers are used to, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is certain Auburn (5-0, 2-0) will bring an offense that will be tough to contain.
"They do a lot of good things running the ball and they are physical on the offensive front," Petrino said. "(We) have to be great with gap control, be great with secondary eyes and knowing whether it's a pass or run."
The Tigers bring one of the most potent offenses in the nation into the game.
Running back Ben Tate is averaging 108 yards per game, which is second in the SEC and 13th nationally while fellow running back Onterio McCalebb is fifth in the SEC and 43rd nationally with 83.2 rushing yards per game.
McCalebb is also third in the SEC in all-purpose yards with 145.6 per game. Tate is fifth with 136.6.
In addition to the strong ground game, Auburn boasts a solid passing game as well.
Quarterback Chris Todd ranks seventh in the nation with 15.19 yards per completion and eighth in passing efficiency with a rating of 160.81.
Many of those offensive stats are the result of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's complicated offensive scheme. As a former defensive coordinator, current Auburn head coach Gene Chizik likes Malzahn's approach.
"(The offense) poses some problems, when you look at it from a defensive standpoint. That's one of the reasons I hired Gus," Chizik said. "There are some problems you have to work through.
Arkansas defensive end Malcolm Sheppard will lead the Razorbacks as they try work through those problems. Sheppard leads Arkansas with 5.5 tackles for a loss and leads all Razorbacks with nine career sacks.
Wendel Davis recorded 11 tackles last week and leads Arkansas with 30 on the season.
Auburn will also have its hands full slowing down a good Arkansas (2-2, 0-2) offense.
"(They're) explosive on offense. Bobby (Petrino) does a good job with the run game and pass game, we have our work cut out for us," Chizik said. "He's a great football coach. He does a great job developing quarterbacks, which is evident with Ryan Mallet."
Mallet has passed for 1,148 yards and 11 touchdowns through the first four games of the season. His 11 touchdown passes has him tied for eighth nationally.
Attempting to stop Mallet are Auburn linebackers Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens, who lead the Tigers with 30 tackles each.
Defensive lineman Antonio Coleman had 19 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception. He ranks sixth in school history with 17 career sacks. This season he is tied for eighth in the SEC in tackles for a loss and tied for 10th in sacks.
With two high-powered offenses, many fans might be expecting a shootout. Petrino said fans might want to back off of those expectations.
"There's times when you went into a game thinking it would be high scoring, but it ends up 17-14," Petrino said.
No matter what the final score is, both teams need to win this game.
An Auburn victory would keep the Tigers on pace for the division title. An Arkansas win would be the first SEC victory of the year for the Razorbacks.
Auburn leads the all-time series 10-17-1, and history is on the Tigers' side as the road team has won the last four games and six of the last seven. History also shows this could be a tight game – nine of the games in the series have been decided by seven points or less.